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Mischa Bredewold will be one to watch during the coming seasons.
The 22-year-old Dutch woman signed for the powerhouse squad SD Worx, from Parkhotel Valkenburg, as the team continues to build for a continued future at the top of the sport.
Bredewold, who turned professional just two years ago, hit some big results last year, including an impressive stage win and the youth classification at the Simac Ladies Tour. She is still at the beginning of what looks like a very promising career, and she has some big plans for her own future.
“I want to grow into a rider in the future that can win big races. It’s fine if it still takes me a couple of years because I have a long way to go but I really feel like this team is the best place for me for the upcoming years,” Bredewold said. “Hopefully this year I can learn how to ride finals and how to win finals. I hope I can be a good part of that for the team and get as many wins together as we can and then hopefully in some time I will be able to get the get some wins.”
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Most of Bredewold’s success so far as a rider has come on undulating terrain where she can try to get away and duke it out in a sprint from a group of two or three riders. It is how she won her Simac Ladies Tour stage last season and it’s how she took a stage at the AG Tour de la Semois a short while later.
Bredewold loves the aggressive nature of one-day racing and it’s where many of her ambitions lie. She has also shown promise in stage races and finished sixth at the Bretagne Ladies Tour last May and finished second in the youth classification at the Tour de France Femmes in the summer.
“My favorite race is Flanders and the only downside to coming to such a big team is that there are so many riders here that can win that race,” she said. “But I really like Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race. The kinds of races where they are hilly but don’t have too long climbs is what I like most.
“I really like stage races and I feel like I always improve along the race and I think I rode some quite some steady and good GCs last year already. And that’s something that I want to improve at. For now, I don’t have one specific GC already in mind. The Tour de France is, of course, a dream but I think that’s further away because I’m quite tall so I’m not sure if I can ever really specialize in the long climbs. I think, for now, the Simac Ladies Tour is my kind of stage race.”
Wherever her career holds for her, Bredewold hopes that the move to SD Worx over the winter will help her sharpen her race craft and learn better to predict the right moments.
“I like attacking, that’s how I like to win my races. Now a few times it worked out well, but also a lot of times it didn’t work out,” Bredewold said. “I can tactically improve from that point and learn how to read the races and learn when to stay easy to keep yourself quiet and wait for the right moment to use your energy.”
Cycling, a family passion
For Bredewold, cycling is a family passion and she fell in love with the sport from an early age after seeing her father and older brother ride. Initially, her dad didn’t want her to start racing that young but, with determination, she wore him down until he finally agreed to let her.
“My dad always used to race as well when he was younger. My brother is two years older than me, we were always really close growing up and we were playing with my father’s old trophies and medals and stuff and then the interest in cycling started,” Bredewold said.
“When I was seven, my brother started cycling and he was my idol. Everything that my brother did, I had to do as well. And after whining and whining and whining for a long time, my dad finally let go cycling. He finally let me start at the same sports club that my brother was riding on. So I was seven when I first started on the bikes.”
It wasn’t long before Bredewold started racing regularly but her first big competitive experience didn’t quite go as she might have hoped, but she was already hooked by then.
“My first big race was the national championships, in 2009 I think. And I’ve also actually funny story because I was the last one to finish,” she said. “I think there were 12 girls or something competing and I was racing towards this girl that was in front of me and I was really dead. I was riding to the finish and I thought ‘I’m going to catch her and then I’m not last, I’m the one a one before. But I was making so much noise because I was [panting], that she heard me coming and he looked back and sprinted away from me again to the finish line.
“I came over and I was crying so hard. My brother actually was there and he was nine or 10 and then he wanted to catch me but he couldn’t hold me so I fell off the bike.”
Bredewold’s brother would eventually give up racing as she continued toward having a professional career, but he still follows her career closely, particularly when it comes to the technical side.
“He’s really proud. He’s really my biggest fan and we’re still so close and I share a lot with him,” Bredewold said. “He’s really into the material and bikes and stuff so every time I get something new, I send a picture to him and he looks everything up. He’s really into that kind of thing.
“He doesn’t ride anymore himself, but every now and then he goes for a little bike spin. I am always trying to get him on the bike to do an easy coffee ride together. It’s nice because it still feels like a family thing, also with my father. They spent so much time helping and supporting that it’s super nice to enjoy it together.”